October 1, 2010, REDWOOD CITY, Calif., and BANGALORE, India — Omidyar Network today announced a grant of up to $3M to Janaagraha, a Bangalore-based nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life in India’s cities and towns. The philanthropic investment firm’s grant will be used to extend Janaagraha’s successful model of citizen engagement and urban governance to other urban areas in India. The grant will also support a national online civic engagement platform, iJanaagraha, and a bribe reporting website, “I Paid a Bribe.”
Omidyar Network invests in organizations that use technology to provide access to information and tools necessary for citizens to participate in the governing process, shape outcomes important to them and hold governments to account. Over the last two years, the firm has granted over $23M to a dozen organizations in support of its Technology for Government Transparency investment area. At the recent Clinton Global Initiative, Omidyar Network committed an additional $30M over the next three years, and Janaagraha’s is the first grant against that commitment. The grant is also Omidyar Network’s first government transparency grant in India and its largest government transparency grant outside the United States.
“Janaagraha is one of the premier government transparency organizations in India,” remarked Jayant Sinha, managing director, Omidyar Network India Advisors. “Omidyar Network is proud to partner with Janaagraha and offer our technology and human capital expertise to help Janaagraha scale their model and online platforms across the world’s largest democracy.”
Janaagraha is an innovator in engaging citizens and advancing government transparency in India. Over the last decade, the organization has developed and refined a systematic model to improve urban life in Bangalore. The approach focuses on organizing citizens at a local level to hold responsible parties to account.
In addition to extending Janaagraha’s model beyond Bangalore, the Omidyar Network grant will support iJanaagraha, a new online portal committed to urban issues, both electoral and civic. The portal aims to initiate positive social change by building networks of communities and local civic bodies, providing data on urban issues and fostering civic awareness. iJanaagraha will launch tomorrow, October 2, 2010.
“Through engagement and empowerment of local stakeholders, Janaagraha is tackling the failures of urban governance while building a spirit of civic volunteerism. Together, citizens and local government are leaning on one another to improve service delivery, address corruption and build a sustainable civic structure for the future,” commented Ramesh Ramanathan. “Omidyar Network’s support and belief in the scalability of our accomplishments in Bangalore and promise of iJanaagraha are gratifying validations of our efforts and vision for urban India.”
Founded in 2001 by Ramesh Ramanathan and Swati Ramanathan, Janaagraha started as a movement to include people’s participation in public governance and has now evolved into a robust institution for citizenship and democracy. For more information about Janaagraha, please visit www.janaagraha.org.
About Omidyar Network
Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. To date, Omidyar Network has committed more than $363 million to for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple investment areas, including microfinance, entrepreneurship, property rights, consumer Internet, mobile technology and government transparency. To learn more about Omidyar Network, please visit www.omidyar.com.